Who is the elder son of Lord Shiva?


The vastly worshipped Lord Shiva is a prominent deity in the religion of Hinduism. Lord Shiva and his companion Parvati had two sons in total. The two of their sons are also well known in the culture and are worshipped according to their importance. 

In the two sons of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the first son was named Kartikeya. He was the eldest son while the younger son was Ganesha. In the Southern part of India Kartikeya is recognized as Lord Subramanya.

Murugan Karthikeya

Kartikeya or Lord Subramanya is the god of war and is a powerful fighter who slew many powerful and strong demons like Narakasura, Gajasura, and Mahishasura. He is also known to have authority over the demigods. Kartik has two spouses whose names were Valli and Devasena. His name was derived from the six Kritikas who took care of his upbringing and subsequently has six heads. The temples and worship places dedicated to Lord Subramanya or Kartikeya are located in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Odissa, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Delhi.

A complete Purana that is the Skanda Purana, is devoted to Kartikeya who motivated Kalidas to inscribe the lyrics Kumarasambhava in which intensely defines the situations leading to his birth and it also comprises of the lovemaking of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The Kings Kumaragupta and Skandagupta who belong to the well-known Gupta family have been named after Kartikeya. 

Murugan Statue

However, in some way, the worship of Kartikeya in the northern region of India started to weaken from the 5th century CE. In the East-India that is Odisha and Bengal specifically, he has prominence and the occasion Kartik Purnima is celebrated each year in his recall and respect to date.

 He is also worshipped as Murugan in the state of Tamil Nadu of South India). And he is the Tamil God there to note facts. The popular Batu caves, located about a hundred km from Kuala Lumpur the capital of Malaysia has a 140 feet high incarnation of Murugan. It is considered to be the tallest in the world. Also, in the states of Karnataka and Kerala, Kartikeya is praised as Lord Subramaniya and there are temples devoted to him in his name.

 The very first extravagant explanation of Kartikeya’s source happens in the epic Mahabharata where he is supposed to have been born from the fire gods Agni and Svaaha. In the Ramayana version of the birth of this character and harvest, the deity is similar to that of which is in Puranas and is the most well-known story related to his birth.

 Now let us come to the question of who is the firstborn son of Lord Shiva, some of the Hindu epics and Puranas show that he was the elder son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. In the Shiva Purana, Kartikakeya is seen as aiding Lord Shiva to fight the newborn Ganesha. 

And in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, he is shown as the eldest son of Lord Shiva, and the younger is Ganesha. However, Kartikeya is shown to be younger than the two through the devious politics, specifically, by Parvati as Ganesha is supposed to be closer to Parvati than Kartikeya.

Who is Lord Shiva?

Lord Shiva is also called as Mahadeva which means great god. He is the high being within Shaivism and one of the chief traditions within modern Hinduism. Shiva is called as The Destroyer in the Trimurti and the Hindu trinity which includes Brahma and Vishnu. In the Shiv tradition, Shiva is one of the great beings who make, guards and changed the universe. 

Shiva Hindu God

In the Shaktism culture, the Goddess’ is shown as the highest, still, Shiva is admired with Vishnu and Brahma. A Devi is said to be the energy and inventive power of each, with Parvati or Sati the equal modern partner of Lord Shiva. He is also one of the five correspondent gods in the Panchayatana puja of the Smarta culture in Hinduism. 

As per the Shaivism sector, the greatest form of god is shapeless, limitless, unequalled and invariable absolute Brahman, and the soul of the universe. There are several both kind and fearsome forms of Shiva. In caring aspects, he is shown as an all-knowing Yogi who lives a frugal life on Mount Kailash and is his family consists of his wife Parvati and his two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. 

In his aggressive forms, he is usually shown to be slaying demons. Lord Shiva is also called as Adiyogi Shiva, seen as the god of yoga, introspection and arts. The pictorial attributes of Lord Shiva are seen with a serpent wrapped around his neck, the beautifying crescent moon, the sacred river Ganga flowing from his hair, with the third eye on his forehead, the trishula, his weapon, and the drum.

Who is Kartikeya?

Kartikeya is also called Skanda, Murugan and Subrahmanya is the Hindu deity of war. He is the offspring of Parvati and Shiva, and the elder brother of Ganesha, and a deity whose life story has several versions in Hinduism. 

 He is an olden god, seen in the Vedic era. He is seen in many old temples in India, like the Ajanta Ellora Caves and Elephant Caves. The incarnation of Kartikeya differs meaningly; he is typically shown as a young man, riding an Indian Peacock, with weapons like at times he is seen with a rooster in the flag that he holds. 

Most images show him with a single head, but some of them show him with six heads showing the legend around his birth. He grows into a philosopher-warrior, kills evil in the form of the demon Taraka, and teaches the search of moral life and the doctrines of Shaiva Siddhanta. He has encouraged many poet-saints, like Arunagirinathar.

The stories in the scriptures

This is how the drama takes place according to the stories told. The holy muni Narada had been taken into confidence and this was done by the agreement of Narada, Parvati and Shiva that competition will take place to walk around the Brahmanda (universe) and whoever from Kartik and Ganesh would complete the walk first, would be professed as the elder son.

Then Kartika completed his round of the world three times on his vahana The Peacock, but Ganesha did the same by taking a walk around Shiva and Parvati and became the first to complete the task. And so, he was declared the winner and had got the privilege of getting the sacred fruit of knowledge from Narada.

Shiva Parvati Ganesh

This triumph made Lord Ganesha the deity of wisdom. He became the wiser and was thus declared the elder one out of the two by Narada. Further, he was also made the very first demigod to be adored as a deity. To make the path clear for Ganesh to get priority over the biologically elder brother Kartikeya, Lord Shiva, under the effect of Parvati, distracted Kartikeya by sending him to South India under the excuse of giving protection to the people there. 

There is also a verse on Lord Shiva which mentions that Kartikeya being the elder one gets upset when his parents bring in another son Ganesha. Kartikeya is biologically the first son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Yet by the influence of Parvati, Ganesha was manipulated and called the elder son despite not being the first son of Shiva. 

Ganesh was introduced to the public domain by Bala Gangadhara Tilak in the early 20th century in India. The deity became the uniting point of the Hindu people to fight against British rule. And so, Lord Ganesha became the most known deity of Maharashtra since then and remains to be so. 

The Ganesh Pujan is greatly celebrated as an annual festival in parts of Maharashtra as well as in some regions of India. In the state of Maharashtra, Ganesha is admired mainly as a god who removes all obstacles also known as vigna harta and after that, he is known to be the god of wisdom.

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